While the left-wing media delight over Republican 2012 presidential nominees’ slugfest in early-state caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, some forward-thinking conservatives are engaged in a constructive plan to win the general election no matter who the nominee is.
Crafty Republican National Committee staffers are compiling a 500-page document, known informally as “The Book,” that juxtaposes direct quotes and video clips of Obama making grandiose promises with statistics on the reality of how his efforts have turned out. The compendium, which covers 2008-2011, promises to be a virtual treasure trove of fodder for 2012 general election GOP campaign ads, chock full of sound bites coupled with cold, hard facts that will yield devastating and irrefutable attack ads. RNC communications director Sean Spicer boasts, “We have everything he has done and said catalogued six ways to Sunday.”
Republicans tried using Obama’s words against him once before, in the 2008 general election; however, a fawning press, a weak GOP nominee, and an electorate asleep at the wheel mitigated the impact of such Obama albatrosses as “Spread the wealth around,” “Electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket,” and “A guy who lives in my neighborhood.”
The press is still sycophantic, and Republicans still need to ferret out a strong candidate from among the choices they have, but the electorate will not so easily be lulled this time. Voters have witnessed Obama in action for three years, and they don’t like what they’ve seen. The quotes GOP operatives amass will directly reflect Obamanomics’ failure to improve the economy. Democrats won’t be able to argue away Obama’s words as tangential, hyperbolic, or referencing distant episodes in the past. These words will have been spoken during his campaign and presidency, about his specific policies—and will be demonstrated time and again to be at odds with reality.
For starters, RNC staffers have documented—as revealed in a sneak preview to the Washington Post—Obama’s failed promises to bring millions of Americans out of poverty (millions more are in poverty since he took office), help homeowners get above water via his foreclosure assistance fund (the program helped a fraction of the intended number of owners), create millions of “green” jobs (the number was greatly overestimated, and his efforts overshadowed by the Solyndra bankruptcy), and lower health care premiums (which have increased under ObamaCare). The GOP will likely nail Obama on the number of jobs his stimulus bill was supposed to create but didn’t, the failure of the stimulus bill to keep unemployment under the promised 8.0%, and the inability of our economy to rebound from the 2008 recession as it has every recession since WWII.
Republicans will censure Obama for disregarding the grand ethics standards he set regarding lobbying and transparency, and his failure to usher in greater civility, bipartisanship, and racial harmony.
Part of the ease of assembling a WikiObama derives from recent technological advances in archiving and indexing video clips. A bigger part, though, comes from the fact that for four years, Obama hasn’t seemed to know when to shut up.
Ironically, a leader whose vaunted oratorical skills were his strongest asset on the campaign trail will likely be undone by those very words. If Obama hadn’t aimed so high via his rhetoric, perhaps his words wouldn’t now be coming back to haunt him—but then perhaps he wouldn’t have been elected in the first place.
Had Obama’s economic and foreign policy prescriptions succeeded even moderately over the past three years, then attack ads against him might now seem churlish or petty. Yet Obama has made so many specific promises, and failed so spectacularly to deliver on them, that pointing out the discrepancies between his assurances and his results will strike undecided voters as the only responsible thing to do.
If Obama had been a big speech-giver, but his policies had been sound—a combination that recalls Ronald Reagan—then his utterances wouldn’t have become the noose with which opponents will now hang him.
Not to be cocky about it, but the RNC’s strategy seems utterly foolproof to me. How can Obama deny what he said on record? And—unless economic conditions improve dramatically over the next ten months—how can the country’s circumstances fail to belie the incantations offered by candidate Hope-and-Change?
Regarding The Book, Spicer adds, “This is not an effective tool—it’s the most effective tool. We literally have gone through and looked at this over and over again. Survey after survey, focus group after focus group all say this is the most effective way to bring [independents] over to our side.”
It’s also the most honest and focused technique. And GOP operatives won’t even have to revisit potshots like “57 states,” “corpse-man,” and “breathalyzer.”
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- RNC launches opposition research Tumblr account (thehill.com)
- RNC Memo: Here’s How We’re Going To Beat Obama (businessinsider.com)
- Video: Failed promises, Iowa edition (hotair.com)
- GOP, Dems Ready Negative Video Ads (usnews.com)
- Video: Rush Unleashes on the “Stupid!” RNC For Being Too Soft on the “Despicable Divider” Obama (nicedeb.wordpress.com)